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Yorgi Yorgesson: Dat’s Entertainment
This time of year, when the snowflakes flurry as people scurry, I like to sit back and relax to the warm holiday music of …
You thought I was going to say Bing Crosby, didn’t you? Or maybe Nat King Cole. Or Andy Williams.
Nope. I’m a Yogi Yorgesson guy all the way. Bing’s ok with that white Christmas jazz, and ol’ Nat’s pretty good with the roasting chestnuts thing, and of course we all like Andy to tell us it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but you have to ask yourself: How good are they, really, if they can’t even manage a classic like “I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas”?
“Oh, I yust go nuts at Christmas, on that yolly holiday, I’ll go in the red, like a knucklehead, cause I squander all my pay…”
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Mike Redmond is a complete weirdo.” I beg to differ. I am not a complete weirdo. I am one-quarter weirdo, on my father’s side.
And it makes itself known every Christmas.
Return with us now to LaGrange County long ago and the Redmond household on Christmas morning. We’d come downstairs and Dad would turn the radio to WOWO (pronounced “wowo”), the powerhouse station in Fort Wayne. As we opened gifts and ate our coffeecake, we would keep our ears open because we knew that at some point, Bob Sievers, the legendary WOWO morning man, would drop a Yogi Yorgesson record on the turntable.
Hilarity would ensue, primarily with me, my brother P.D., and Dad. Mom and the girls would sniff and declare Yogi insulting to one’s intelligence. That was the whole point, we’d argue. And then we’d discuss making the long-distance call to WOWO to request Yogi’s other yuletide hit, “Yingle Bells.”
Now, for those of you who did not have the good sense to come from Northern Indiana, a little history:
Thick-accented Yogi Yorgesson was a character created by comedian Harry Stewart, the son of Norwegian immigrants, for a string of comedy records that included such gems as “I Wanna Go Back To My Little Old Shack in Minneapolis, Minnesota,” “Nincompoops Have All The Fun” and “Somebody Spiked The Punch At Lena’s Wedding,” in addition to the holiday classics.
Now, you can make a good argument against ethnic humor, and I will generally agree with you, but I make an allowance for Yogi, the same way I make an allowance for, say, the late Moms Mabley. They weren’t making fun of someone else’s ethnicity, they were having fun with their own and pointing out some universal truths in the bargain. Yogi isn’t a nincompoop. He’s just overwhelmed, most often by his family – a condition that knows no ethnic boundaries.
Which gets me back Dad. I’m pretty sure Dad liked Yogi because he could relate to the whole overwhelming-family thing. Then again, it could be just that he liked cornball jokes. After all, it was Dad who also gave us Homer and Jethro records for Christmas (who have their own holiday hit in “All I Want For Christmas Is My Upper Plate.”
Well, anyway – here’s to Yogi Yorgesson, who provides part of soundtrack every year as I, too, squander all my pay. He brings a little weirdo to my holidays, and that makes me yolly. I mean jolly.
© 2011 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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